We look at how Canada is coping with COVID-19, how the property market is faring and the current travel restrictions.
How is Canada coping with coronavirus?
It’s been over six months since Canada recorded their first COVID-19 case. In March, Canada implemented strict lockdown measures, closing their borders and introducing social distancing. There are lessons to be learnt from Canada’s overall response. However, due to their strict measures, the impact of coronavirus has only been a fraction of what was initially predicted.
The country began to emerge from lockdown in May, which was met with concerns as infections remained high and testing was still low. Whilst cases in Quebec and Ontario were high, Alberta and British Columbia fared a lot better. BC, in particular, was successful in testing, tracing and reducing the infection rates.
Canada is currently battling a second wave of infections. As of 23 December, Canada recorded 6,845 daily average cases. Ontario is currently the worst affected area with 2,304 daily average cases.
Five regions, including Toronto, are currently in lockdown. Ontario is set to move into a lockdown on 26 December, affecting 14 million people. These lockdowns are expected to last well into January in an attempt to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed in the new year.
Non-essential businesses will close, and restaurants are only allowed to do takeaway and delivery servives.
Learn more about the process of buying abroad in our Emigration Guide.
Who can fly to and from Canada?
At the moment, there are still strict rules around who can enter Canada. Non-essential travel is not permitted, and only those with immediate family or permanent residents are permitted to enter for non-essential reasons. There is a mandatory isolation period of 14 days for anyone entering the country.
Applicants for permanent residence who are in possession of an expired COPR (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) and PRV (Permanent Residence Visa) and who are ready to move to Canada, could be permitted to enter the country, as long as they can prove that they intend to settle in Canada rather than visit temporarily.
Whilst restrictions vary between provinces, most of the country is open for domestic tourism, giving Canadians a chance to explore their own back garden. However, as cases are rising at the moment, this could change soon.
At the moment, there are still strict rules around who can enter Canada.
How is the Canadian property market performing?
Whilst the property market has far from collapsed in Canada, cracks are beginning to show due to the coronavirus pandemic. The average cost of a home in Canada fell by 1.3% year-on-year in April – whilst this is still a drop, prices didn’t plummet because both supply and demand fell together. While people weren’t selling homes, no one was buying either.
People coming to live in Canada from overseas makes up a huge part of the property market. In 2019, a record-setting 341,000 newcomers came to Canada, adding to the more than 300,000 people who came to the country in 2018. Of the people who moved here last year, 35% came to Toronto, while 11% moved to Vancouver.
However, with Canada’s borders still closed to all but essential visitors, this is making it harder for people to buy from overseas. In April, the numbers of permanent residents admitted to Canada declined by 80% from 2019. Despite this, it’s predicted that there will be a strong rebound next year in key expat hotspots.
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Immigration applications continue
Travel might still be restricted, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting the process of applying for a move to Canada. The Canadian government are still accepting most permanent resident applications. Their ability to review and process them is being affected by COVID-19, however, so they can’t currently estimate any processing times.
Because of COVID-19, you now have 90 days to submit your Express Entry application after you’ve received your invitation to apply.
So, even though travel is still restricted, you can still get the ball rolling with your plans to emigrate!